Boyz II Men said it best: “How do I say goodbye to what we had?” How do we, as a community, say goodbye? A hug? A celebration? A salute? Well, I say goodbye like this: Congratulations seniors! Pack up your junk and go home! The last four years of your life must have been a wild ride or, if you’re anything like me, a Groundhog Day sequence. Speaking as a junior, high school goes by so fast. I know everyone says high school goes by fast, and when I first heard it, I sure didn’t believe it. I mean, it’s four years. That is ¼ of my life. Yet, these past three years have gone by in a blink of an eye. If only I could redo the past three years knowing all that I know now.
I’ve had one real graduation in my life. “You are supposed to graduate middle school, what’s the big deal?” My father told me. He was joking (I think), but the importance of graduations have held a firm grip on my subconscious. What are graduations celebrating? Is it the fact that you graduated high school? Is it a celebration of your accomplishments in high school? Is it a celebration of getting into college? Is it sort of a closing ceremony, end of an era type thing? I honestly have no idea. But soon enough you, seniors, will be packing up your things and moving away, living away from your family possibly for the first time in your life. This is something that some of you might find terrifying, but as one of your successors, I encourage you to welcome every new opportunity that is coming your way – well, mostly everything (don’t visit dark alleys or walk home alone). This is an amazing thing. You are moving onto the next chapter of your life. Independence, communal showers, and student loans are all in your future; you will be taking on the world for the first time on your own. Not that you will be completely and utterly alone, but you will be on your own, finding your groove, finding your people, and discovering the possibilities that life has to offer.
Seniors, I want you to think, what you have accomplished during your tenure at Kingswood Oxford. And I don’t mean your GPA, SAT/ACT scores, or how many soccer games you won (you are already going to college so that high school stuff is pretty much over). I want you to think about how you have made a difference in your community, what you have discovered about yourself. Have you been a good peer? A kind person? Have you treated your fellow classmates with respect? At the end of the day, high school is basically a test run for the rest of your life. The academic part of high school prepared you for college, but have the social aspects prepared you for human interaction? I know that everyone wants petty high school nonsense to end in high school. However, almost every adult I have asked said that petty high school nonsense does not end with high school. You are going to leave high school with regrets. But what matters most is that you learned from your mistakes and now, you have the unique opportunity to completely move on from them. You can start over without anything holding you back. You are standing on the precipice of the rest of your life. But hey, what do I know? I’m just a high school junior with an old soul and a column on the KO news. So, seniors, this article is how I say goodbye. Good luck and so long class of 2021. As Semisonic said, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”